Sunday, April 28, 2019

More Security Funding Sought For U.S. Synagogues

The day after the horrifying attack on the Chabad synagogue near San Diego brought up once again the challenges that the Jewish community is facing regarding the security of institutions such as schools and synagogues. Several key figures in the community agreed Sunday that while a lot has been done since the Pittsburgh shooting last October, there are still many challenges with both the funding of security and training in local communities.

Nathan Diament, executive director of Public Policy for the Orthodox Union, told The Jerusalem Post that his organization advocated for increasing allocations of federal and local funding for security in Jewish institutions.

“More than more than a dozen years ago, we helped create the federal nonprofit security grant program to which the DHS [Department of Homeland Security] gives grants,” he told the Post. “We got a record $60 million allocated to that last year and then again this year. And DHS just put out an announcement a couple of weeks ago inviting more applications. This is going on right now.”

He added that he’s currently lobbying to increase that amount to $75m. next year. “We’ve also been working in some key states like New York, New Jersey and Florida to work with the state governments and they have allocated tens of millions of dollars to support security needs,” Diament continued.

When asked how much money is needed nationwide to improve security for Jewish institutions, Diament said that “it’s hard to put a number on it, but I would say that we still have a long way to go. I would say for the institutions that we work with, it’s a challenge, but that’s why we’re helping them.”

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